A group of hardy Harriers made the trip to Falkirk to toe the line with some of the best runners in Scotland. Got to admit the idea of being in the same field as top talent was a bit daunting but the great thing about this event is it embraces runners of all abilities.

Callendar Park was the scene and the course was looking on the whole good on this sunny, dry and cold winter’s day. I watched in awe as the young runners, fit and focussed, competed in their races. Then it was Margaret and I’s turn to go in the women’s race – one little loop, before completing three loops of the main course. Margaret wanted to go up to the front with the elite women, but I was having none of it, already felt out of my depth.

However, once the gun went off it felt amazing to be running with so many people. There was a horrendous sharp muddy climb not far into the course and kept to the right to avoid the majority of the muck. It was a real energy sapper. But, there were lovely long downhills where you could let your legs stretch out a bit. I had a wee mini battle with a lady who kept passing me on the straight, then I would overtake her on the hills. I was never really sure if our Margaret was behind me or another because her name was being shouted on the first lap continuously by the spectators lining the route.

There was an incredible atmosphere as you came back into the main “arena” with cow bells ringing and the crowd cheering. And then another horrific climb before looping around a wee hill and a tricky cambered slope and down a really muddy bit where on the two following loops I almost fell. Caught my running nemesis who I eventually got past once and for all. Managed to pass a couple of other women on the final loop which I was chuffed about as over 6 miles of cross country is incredibly tough!

Was delighted and relieved to see the final downhill to the finish line. Got to admit the magnitude of the event got the better of me and felt a bit emotional at the end. Felt even more distressed when I learned at the end I hadn’t put my timing chip on and Craig told me “no chip, no time.” Thankfully a bit of grovelling with the officials secured my listing. 

In the men’s race, Craig confirmed his place as the clubs new Cross Country King with victory over Andrew, who wasn’t making his senior race debut. Scott came 3rd followed you Chris who ran well to duck in under the hour.

1st man: Kiristian Jones – Dundee Hawkhill Harriers – 33:05
1st woman: Mhairi Maclennan – Edinburgh University Hares and Hounds – 37:49

Maryhill Harriers Results

240th – Linda Sinclair – 59:51
259th – Margaret Peebles – 01:02:21

327th – Craig Perrie – 43.55

429th – Andrew Stevenson – 47.00

512th –  Scott Coulter – 50.07

609th – Chris Hever – 59.13

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